Why do developers tend to prefer Git as a version control system and GitHub to store their projects? What advantages does Jekyll offer for generating static websites? The answers to those questions clearly reveal why more and more companies are utilizing the storage center and the software for technical documentation, too.
GitHub’s Versioning Advantage
Any time a developer creates something, from an app to a game, it’s almost inevitable that there will be updates and new versions coming out before the official release (and even afterwards). Keeping track of those revisions and modifications could be tricky. That’s where GitHub comes into play.
Git is the system that many developers prefer to store and manage these file changes because it has proven itself to do this more efficiently and with better file integrity than other systems. The “Hub” component provides a platform to both store files and network with other developers.
Combined, these two aspects make a central repository that promotes collaboration, while easily keeping track of changes and revisions should developers need to revisit an older version of the software.
Every time a piece of software is updated or changed, the technical documentation that accompanies it must be updated, too. GitHub makes it easy to track versions and changes and update documentation at the same time, especially with features like wikis where technical writers can collaborate together.
Jekyll’s Template Advantage
Creating a static webpage, one that doesn’t have to query a database for information means a developer must hand-write the HTML file. To speed up that process, developers can use Jekyll, software that generates web pages by using templates.
Jekyll isn’t a website hosting platform, it merely creates the files which would then need to be hosted somewhere else. Since static web files tend to be text files, and there’s no database that has to be queried to complete the webpage, pages created with Jekyll are ideal for versioning.
And, since Jekyll creates standalone pages, technical writers can publish their documentation in a user-friendly, visually engaging format without much effort. This allows more users and customers to access documentation online in an aesthetically-pleasing format, while writers and developers can easily keep track of updated versions.
Bringing Jekyll and GitHub Together
So, if Jekyll is ideal for versioning, and GitHub is perfect for storing versions of software,
combining the two is the next logical step for developers and technical writers. Easy to understand and employ, especially for multiple users or teams, Jekyll lets you combine files if more than one person is working on something, as well as comparing versions to look for differences. It’s an easy way to store technical documentation, too, as writers can check versions without having to fiddle with a complicated database.
Combining Jekyll with GitHub makes storing and accessing documentation even more powerful. While GitHub provides a platform to access Jekyll files, it also allows for more, from creating a new project based on a previous one (forking) to pull requests, which bring your forked version of a project to the attention of the original repository (the file’s location, aka repo).
There are even changelogs for when you need to go back and see who was responsible for a
change in an earlier version. But probably the most popular aspect of GitHub is the collaboration it affords developers and technical writers who may be working together, as revisions can be discussed in a public forum so teams can benefit from each other’s insights.